Step 1: Housing and bedding
Millipedes can be kept on their own or in groups, in a tank measuring about 40 centimetres by 25 by 25. It should be a well-ventilated glass or plastic tank with an escape-proof lid. Attach rubber feet to the base of the tank if the heat mat is attached underneath. Attach a heat mat on the outside of the enclosure to keep it between 25 and 30 degrees. Place a thermometer inside the tank to monitor the temperature. Line the floor with a thick layer of substrate such as cocoa fibre which should be soaked in water before being added to the tank. Don't use soil from your garden as it may contain stones or chemicals. The tank should be kept away from direct sunlight, radiators, draughts and chemicals such as fly sprays. Provide bark for your pet to climb and hide under. Spray the tank every other day with warm water to maintain the level of humidity at 60-70%. This can be checked with a hydrometer.
Step 2: Handling
Only pick your millipedes up when necessary, by gently holding the middle of the body. To get your millipede more used to human contact, allow it to walk over your hand without grasping it. Millipedes occasionally release an irritating fluid if threatened. This rarely happens with pet millipedes but if it does, the fluid should be washed off immediately with cold water.
Step 3: Diet
Your giant millipedes should be given fresh food every other day so that it has a day to rot slightly. In the wild they eat fresh and rotting leaves, roots and fungi, but you can feed them fruit, vegetables and salad. Vegetables should be washed to remove all traces of chemicals. Millipedes also need calcium so provide a cuttlefish bone, natural chalk or crushed eggshells. They will get all the water they need from a moist tank and the correct diet.
Step 4: Cleaning
Change the substrate every week. The entire tank should be washed about once a month, and whenever you notice mites or other parasites in the tank or on the millipedes. Wash the tank with warm water only as detergents may be harmful.
Step 5: Health
Millipedes will die if the conditions are too cold or dry. In the wrong conditions they will burrow and curl up into a tight coil. However they may curl up motionless during the day even if they are healthy, as millipedes are most active at night. If you notice mites on your millipedes, take them out of the tank and brush them with a soft paintbrush.
Have fun with your millipedes.